June 20, 2011

The Fug Girls Take L.A.


Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
reviewed by Courtney

Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, together the Fug Girls, are the authors of the popular snarky fashion blog Go Fug Yourself (gofugyourself.com). Spoiled is their first attempt at young adult fiction, and, despite a somewhat sloppy plot, it is an engaging read.

As her mother is dying of cancer, Molly Dix, a 16-year-old cross-country star from Indiana, discovers that her father is the internationally famous action movie star, Brick Berlin. Molly accepts his offer of a home in Los Angeles, and moves to California to bond with her remaining parent. Unfortunately this also means getting to know her far less welcoming half-sister, Brooke Berlin, the spoiled, intimidating queen bee of her new high school. Brooke is not happy to share her father's attentions, especially as the revelation of Brick's long lost daughter eclipses her long-anticipated sweet sixteen birthday party.

As the two girls are forced to come to get to know each other, Molly is torn between the superficial paradise of celebrity Los Angeles and the comfortingly normal life of her Indiana childhood. The rivalry between the two sisters grows comically heated, intensified by the ineffectual absentee fathering of Brick, and the unforgiving nature of tabloid and high school gossip. The plot isn't particularly original, and the strength of Spoiled is in the characters of Molly and Brooke. Though they echo other frienemies like Gossip Girl's Blair and Serena, they come across as believable and sympathetic in their reactions to the sudden family upheaval.

Molly in particular is an engaging character, in her struggles to adjust to the Hollywood lifestyle, her tourist glee at celebrity sightings, and her slow recovery from her mother's death. Brooke's spoiled petulance is somewhat more grating, but the long absences of her movie star father, and her absentee hand-model mother make it clear that her life, too, is far from perfect. The two girls are complemented by a hilarious parade of secondary characters, from Brick, a parody of a well meaning but entirely self-absorbed movie star father, forever interrupting conversations to take calls from his agent or note down witticisms on his blackberry, to Shelby Kendall, daughter of a tabloid-mogul and Brooke's primary social rival.

Plot and characters aside, Spoiled owes most of its appeal to the snarky fashion commentary and witty irreverence that defines the Go Fug Yourself blog. The book is full of the satire and opinions that make the blog so enjoyable (leggings are not pants; hot pants donít look good on anyone but models; why is Rosario Dawson famous again?). It is easy to overlook plot holes and problems when Spoiled is so much fun to read, and the absurd celebrity world it sets up is practically begging for a sequel.

Posted by at June 20, 2011 04:53 PM
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